Release Date: Oct 20, 2020
Series: The Playbook
Heat Level: Hot
Publisher: Penguin Group
In Martin’s latest the issues of reality meet the romance realm… and it’s glorious!
This is book four in Martin’s The Playbook series. I missed book three, not sure how, but as I always say too many books and too little time. I guarantee it’s in my TBR pile right now on my kindle. Back to this amazing story.
The quick rehash is we have Elliot Reed newly hired as a Strategic Communications Manager for the Denver Mustangs football team and still reeling from the loss of her father less than a year ago. When new start quarterback Quinton Howard Jr. takes a knee during the national anthem of a football game, Elliot is assigned by the despicable owner of the Mustangs to fix the problem. Thought, Elliot isn’t sure Quinton has a problem and Quinton’s not sure he can trust Elliot with his personal goals to raise awareness since she works for the front office.
It’s like this story was ripped from the headlines, right? Martin nails it. Like out of the ballpark with bi-racial Elliot being faced with the challenge of racial issues being front line and center and as a person of color being asked to handle it. Y’all don’t know how much my blood boiled during reading this book, not at Elliot or Quinton, but at the owner. He’s a real piece of work.
This and a lot of things worked for me. Others include the heroine and the hero have very different backgrounds and how they worked through those differences. The hero is kind of a jerk at the beginning, but he comes around. I enjoy how he challenges Elliot to strip off her blinders when it comes to the issues he’s facing and the people trying to stop him, but he doesn’t treat her poorly as she struggles to come to terms with those experiences and her own upbringing. This story is deep, on so many levels. It peels back several layers and provides insight into a unique experience.
The conflict wrapped up differently than I expected, there’s still a grand gesture and it’s oh-so-grand, but the hero himself made me want to cry during the big black moment. I mean, he had every right to feel the way he did. I think that’s what made this story so good is that both main characters played out everything to their motivations and goals perfectly. They road their horse until it fell down. When the horse collapsed, they both looked beyond themselves and chose love over what they wanted personally. Additionally, Elliot makes some real good decisions and starts unpacking some serious problematic issues.
What I wanted more of, and ultimately what keeps this from the a five, the hero’s POV was missing. I feel like I barely got to know Quinton, and this is a bit of a departure from Martin’s previous books in the series. I really wanted to see a little more from his side, his internal emotions going through all of this.